User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

‘Be-Bop-a-Lula, she’s my baby

Be-bop-a Lula, I don’t mean maybe’…


     Gene Vincent’s rock n’ roll hit song blasted from the Radio Shack speakers in Scotty Ferguson’s souped-up ’53 Studebaker Hawk.  Scotty had just cruised the length of the downtown main drag, and now stopped for a red light at a major intersection.  Seconds later, a flashy new 1962 Ford Galaxy 500 XL pulled up beside him, and the driver looked across with a smirk on his face.  Scotty recognized him as one of the high school Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity brothers, probably out for a Saturday night drive in his daddy’s car.  The kid aggressively revved the engine and continued to look tauntingly at Scotty.  Scotty heard a giggle from the girl sitting in the bucket seat next to the guy.  That pissed him off.  OK, asshole!  The challenge is on.  As the light turned to green, Scotty stomped on the accelerator and popped the clutch.

     The Studebaker took off in a cloud of smoke and rubber, and when Scottie shifted the Hurst ‘four-on-the-floor’ into second gear, the tires screeched and the Hawk fish-tailed and almost took flight.  The driver of the XL was half-a-second slower off the line, but was gaining fast.  The Ford had the bigger engine with more horsepower, but was driven by an amateur who wasn’t too adept with the clutch and who freaked when the Studebaker’s rear-end drifted slightly into his lane.   By then, Scottie’s triple-deuce-carburetors were fully engaged and the Hawk crossed the quarter mile mark in 14 seconds.  He eased up on the gas and made a turn into a shopping plaza which featured the cafe hangout of the high school ‘in’ crowd.  He had just shut down the punk in the XL, but his challenger had driven off.  In defeat, he obviously wasn’t interested in exchanging pleasantries.

     Scotty stopped in the no-parking-zone in front of the Waverly Café and got out of the car.  He leaned against the front drivers side of the Hawk, lit a cigarette and smiled at the group of teenagers who were hanging around out in front.  Others peered at him through the window.  Nobody spoke, although some of the girls whispered to one another wide-eyed while attempting to conceal their curiosity.  Scotty looked a lot like James Dean, and like the character Dean portrayed in the movie, he too was a rebel without a cause.  At 18 years of age, Scotty was a high school drop-out seemingly going nowhere, with a reputation for being quick with his fists.  Just a minute or so had passed when one of the high school jocks approached and said, “You’re not supposed to park there.”  Scotty flicked his cigarette butt at the guy and told him to, “Piss-off.”  The big man on campus glowered at him briefly, and then backed away.

     After a few more minutes, it was evident that the guy driving the Ford XL wasn’t going to appear.  Scotty removed a comb from his back pocket and with a few practiced strokes tidied his Brylcreem infused hair into a perfect ducktail.  Then after adjusting the collar on his leather jacket he got into the car and turned the key.  The throaty roar from the dual exhausts rattled the cafe windows as he peeled away leaving a strip of rubber.  He pulled up behind the nearby pool hall and parked defensively away from other cars to guard against any possible dents or scratches.  The Studebaker Hawk was jet black and had just recently come out of the paint shop.  With its gleaming chrome and flashy hubcaps, the car was a thing of beauty.  Its distinctive colour and racy design made the car easily recognizable around town and it was sometimes referred to as The Batmobile.

     Scotty was just about to enter the pool room when a police cruiser pulled up to the curb.  Corporal Dave Philips leaned out of the window and with a stern gesture motioned for Scotty to approach.  Philips had been a hovering presence, ever since Scotty had obtained his beginner’s licence at the age of 15.  The officer had been a friend of the boy’s deceased father and had adopted a paternalistic attitude in overlooking many of his youthful transgressions.  His method had been to gently lecture rather than write tickets.  Once he had even taken Scotty’s keys and driven him home, instead of busting him for the cardinal sin of driving and drinking underage.  When Scotty drew near, the police officer said, “I just saw you drag-racing over on Main Street.  This will be your last warning Scotty-boy.  The next time I catch you I’m going to lay charges, maybe have your car impounded.  You’ve got to stop this reckless behavior before someone gets hurt!”

     A chastened Scotty Ferguson walked into the pool room and nodded to Fat Eddy behind the counter.  Through the haze of cigarette smoke he could see some of his friends playing snooker at the far end of the room.  The place was hopping and tonight all of the tables were in play.  As Scotty looked around, he noted a lot of familiar faces, including some of the tough guys from across town and a few high school types who were probably gambling with their weekly allowances.  Scotty thought of the pool room as a great social leveller, where people from all walks could rub shoulders and get along, while sharing a common interest.  Scotty was a pretty good pool player, although recently he had dropped a few bucks playing 8 ball.  It was money that he could ill afford to lose, as he was currently behind on a car payment and his weekly room and board at the guesthouse was almost due.  Also, he thought about the Studebaker parked outside with a near empty tank, and practically running on fumes.   

     Scotty walked around behind the pool room, entered the back door of the adjacent Chinese Restaurant and cut through the kitchen.  He figured that tonight he would spend thirty-five cents on a hot chicken sandwich, rather than run the risk of losing more money playing pool.  He placed his order with the kitchen staff, before passing through the swinging doors to the restaurant.  This was the place where Scotty and his friends hung out and there was always a friendly face to talk to.  It was Saturday night and the place was slammed.  Someone had just put a dime in the jukebox and Paul Anka began to sing Puppy Love.  Some kids in the front booth waved and motioned for him to join them.  He chatted with them while waiting for his dinner.  It was going to be a long night as he was working the eleven o’clock shift at the BA gas station.  Scotty looked out the window just as Doug Moffatt drove by in his 1957 Chevy.  He had never met the guy, and only knew him by his reputation as being a big shooter with the fastest set of wheels in town.


     To the casual observer there was nothing distinctive about Doug Moffatt’s 1957 Chevrolet Belair.  It was robin’s egg blue in colour and immaculately washed and polished.  But every auto aficionado in town knew there was something very special about this car.  Concealed under the hood was a monster engine that no one else could touch.  Those who had witnessed Moffatt race said, “If the car had a set of wings it could fly.”  His friends at Bayview Modified joked, “Doug can pass everything but a gas station.”  They had watched as he rebuilt the car from the chassis up.  He had installed a Ford 348 cubic inch Cobra-jet engine that was bored, stroked, ported and polished.  It had a Shorrock supercharger, an experimental Muncie 4-speed transmission, a competition clutch and a limited-slip differential.  Moffatt disguised all of this power in the body of a 1957 Chevrolet because he thought the ’57 was the most beautiful car on the road.

     Earlier Doug had been cruising through the plaza off the main drag when he witnessed the race between a Ford XL and a black Studebaker.  The Studebaker had smoked the other guy, which Doug thought rather surprising.  Hmm?  He wondered, what’s he got under the hood?  He hadn’t seen the car previously and had no idea who the driver was.  In any case, he thought it was irresponsible of both drivers to assume such speed in the busy downtown area.  He knew that this type of drag-racing was happening all the time, but it wasn’t something that he indulged in.  Besides, there was no other car in town that came close to matching his Chevy.  So why waste the gas?  Most of his friends raced up on the North Service Road after dark.  Or, more formally at the nearby raceway on the weekends.  But it was a tight club, and these local wannabes weren’t invited.

     At 24 years of age, Doug Moffatt was in a different snack bracket than most of the hoods and ne’re do wells who roared around town in their hot cars.  He had graduated from community college, and this led to an opportunity to enter a management development program with a major steel company.  He had purchased his first car at the age of 16, and paid for it by working summers at a local Dairy Queen.  Now he was thriving in a junior management position and earning good money which funded his proclivity for fast cars and racing.  He literally had a small fortune invested in the Chevy.  Doug was a founding member and current president of Bayview Modified, a car club which attracted other serious enthusiasts like himself.  The club’s facilities were housed in an industrial warehouse at the edge of town.  On a large sign below their name, was the club’s motto - ‘The Need for Speed.’

     As Doug approached the front of the club’s building he leaned on his horn and someone lifted one of the three garage doors.  He drove inside and parked the Chevy in his designated spot.  The well-lit building was massive and featured two hoists, a grease pit, a tire repair machine, a lube system and every type of tool and automotive mechanical device under the sun.  Along three walls there were work benches, and on the fourth was a lounge area where the members could meet and socialize.  Even on a Saturday night the place was busy, with numerous club members present working on their cars.  The club had been established five years earlier and currently boasted 23 members.  They met on a regular monthly basis to discuss business matters, current auto trends and innovations, and to review the regional racing schedule.  In the lounge, soft drinks and coffee were available.  The club had a non-negotiable ‘no drinking and driving’ mandate.

     Doug tinkered under the hood for an hour, checking the gap in his spark plugs and adjusting the Chevy’s timing belt.  Then after buffing up his chrome valve covers, he decided to call it a night.  He pulled out of the garage at about ten o’clock and headed down the highway to a diner that he often visited on his way home.  When Doug pulled into the parking lot, he was surprized to see the distinctive black Studebaker that had been drag-racing earlier in town.  The bell over the door tinkled as he entered the diner and the friendly waitress called out a familiar greeting.  Doug sat down at the counter, ordered a coffee and then spun around on his stool to scan the crowd.  The place was fairly busy, but he could easily pick out the young man who was the likely owner of the Studebaker.  He was sitting alone in a booth sipping coffee, dressed in a tan coloured shirt with the BA symbol emblazoned on the front.

     Doug walked over to the booth and said, “Hi, how you doing?”  The kid looked up and just stared at him.  Doug immediately pegged him as a defensive teenager with a bit of a chip.  But he continued, “I noticed the beautiful Studebaker Hawk out in the parking lot and just wondered if it was yours?  The kid seemed to thaw a bit and with a half-smile replied, “Yes, that’s my car.” Doug explained that he was a serious car buff, and asked the kid what had under the hood.  As the kid began to reply, Doug asked, “Do you mind if I sit down for a minute?”  Slipping into the booth he stuck out his hand and said, “By the way, my name is Doug Moffatt.”  The kid seemed thunderstruck, but managed to mumble a response.  They talked back and forth for a few minutes, and then Scotty explained that he had to leave.  He was working eleven to seven at the local BA station.


     Hanson’s BA gas station was located north of the downtown area where Main Street intersected with the highway.  It was a good location and busy enough to warrant 24 hour service.  Scotty had worked there for over a year, and was considered a valued employee because of his innate knowledge of engines and his ability to diagnose and repair just about anything.  He was currently registered in the mechanic’s apprenticeship program, a learning process which takes four years to complete.  In the meantime, he earned a modest one dollar an hour that was bumped up by twenty-five cents when he worked the occasional night shift.  Scotty was working six days a week and yet could barely cover his car payment, insurance and weekly room and board.  After buying cigarettes and putting gasoline in the Hawk, he was usually flat broke.

     Scotty pulled into the station and parked off to the side where he could keep an eye on the Hawk through the office window.  He entered and said hello to Matt Connolly who would be working the shift with him.  They would take turns going out to the pumps while the other guy worked on whatever mechanical work that was left over from the day shift.  Tonight there was a brake job to be done and a water pump replacement.  These were easy jobs and wouldn’t take too long.  Later, when the auto traffic at the gas pumps tailed off, Scotty and Matt would bring their own cars into the twin bays and give them a wash.  Scotty was still buzzing with excitement as he related to Matt his earlier encounter with Doug Moffatt.  He still couldn’t believe the guy had actually come over to speak with him in the diner.  Not only that!   Moffatt had invited him to drop in some time at Bayview Modified.

     Derrick Hanson, the owner of the gas station, had been instrumental in getting Scotty registered in the apprenticeship program.  Scotty appreciated his support, but the four year program seemed to stretch out endlessly.  He really wasn’t thinking too much beyond covering his next car payment.  Currently one month in arrears, he had been mortified to receive a collection call from the finance company and was worried about how he was going to catch up.  He had no one he could turn to for help.  His mother and he were estranged after he had left home a year earlier following an argument with his new stepfather.  The man was a stickler for rules and discipline, and he totally rubbed Scotty the wrong way.  His real father had been killed during the war, and his only recollection of him was from pictures he had seen in a photo album.

     Scotty had lots of friends around town and most of them hung out at the Chinese Restaurant.  He had dated a few of the girls in the crowd, but nothing serious until he met Barbara Anne Acheson at the Lions Club Carnival.  She was a senior at the high school and was planning to attend teacher’s college after graduation.  Scotty had called her and asked her out, but when he drove by to pick her up, her father had asked a lot of awkward questions and then gave him the cold shoulder.  After the first date, whenever he called he was told she wasn’t at home.  Finally he went to the Waverly Café, where she hung out with her friends after school.  He walked in and found her sitting with some other girls, sipping cherry Cokes.   Barbara Anne stood up and said, “This is my boyfriend Scotty Ferguson.”  They watched with mouths agape as Barbara Anne and Scotty pulled away in the Hawk.

     A couple of days later, Doug Moffatt pulled up to the pumps at the BA station for gas.  When he went inside to pay, he found Scotty elbows deep under the hood of an Oldsmobile.  He thought, this kid seems to know what he’s doing.  He asked Scotty if he was still interested in a tour of the Bayview Modified facilities.  He said, “Come by tonight around seven o’clock.”  Then he asked if Scotty wouldn’t mind taking a minute to show him the engine in the Studebaker Hawk.  Scotty looked at Mr. Hanson who nodded his OK.  The two enthusiasts went outside and when Scotty lifted the bonnet of the Hawk, Doug whistled in admiration.  The engine block didn’t have a speck of dirt or grease, there were chrome head covers, and sitting atop was an impressive array of triple-deuce-carburetors.

     That evening when Scotty arrived at the Bayview Modified facility he was a little nervous.  To him, this was the big leagues, and he still couldn’t believe that Doug Moffatt had invited him to come by for a visit.  Scotty knew that every guy in town with a car dreamed of being a member of this exclusive club, but it was almost impossible to get in.  After he parked the car, one of the bay doors opened and Doug was there to greet him.  Stepping inside, Scotty was impressed by the huge scale of the garage where about a dozen vehicles were being worked on, many of them in some state of disassembly.  Doug showed him around and introduced him to several club members.  Finally they approached a beautifully restored 1946 Dodge 1/2-ton pick-up, and exchanged greetings with a guy named Paul who owned the vehicle.

     Paul complained that he had put a ton of time and money into the Dodge pick-up, and now the dammed engine wouldn’t turn over.  He had tried everything, including stripping down and reassembling the engine.  He had checked the battery, the wiring, spark plugs and coil.  Paul had other club members try to figure out what was wrong.  He even had a couple of mechanics come in to take a look.  But, no one could figure out what the problem was.  Scotty said, “Do you mind if I take a look?”  Paul shrugged and said, “Sure kid, go ahead.”  Scotty lifted the hood and examined the 117.8 cubic inch flathead six cylinder engine.  He could immediately see that someone had installed an after-market 12 volt fuel pump, and that in a 6 volt system it was probably grounding out the coil.  He explained this to Paul, and told him to go to the Wreckers where he could purchase a used part for a few dollars.


     When Barbara Anne met Scotty at the carnival, she thought he was the coolest guy she had ever seen.  She wasn’t sure what attracted her the most.  Was it his terrific good looks?  His bad boy persona?  Or was it the way her breath caught when their eyes met?  She was thrilled when a few days later he had called to ask her out on a date.  It was after Scotty drove up to her house in the black Studebaker that things took a turn.  Her dad took an immediate dislike to him, particularly when he found out that he was a high school drop-out and worked in a gas station.  When she returned home that night, her father told her to stay away from that guy.  He called Scotty a loser and a grease monkey, and certainly not good enough to date his daughter.  The next time that Scotty telephoned, he was told that Barbara Anne wasn’t home.

     Barbara Anne had secretly gone out with him a few more times, and was head-over-heels over the guy.  But her parents had somehow found out, and there had been a terrible argument.  Her father had grounded her other than for school related activities, and absolutely forbade her to ever see Scotty again.  Now every time Scotty telephoned, he was told that she wasn’t at home.  Barbara Anne was heartbroken and conflicted as to what to do.  She was intimidated by her father, and couldn’t bear the thought of more angry words.  When Scotty entered the Waverly Café a few days ago, she felt like she was being rescued by a white knight.  The other girls were probably green with envy.

     Scotty celebrated his nineteenth birthday by working the afternoon shift at Hanson’s BA.  He had hoped to receive a call from his mother, but it didn’t happen.  On a brighter note he and Barbara Anne were seeing each other regularly in spite of her father’s objections.  He was working a lot of extra hours, and spending whatever free time he had hanging out at Bayview Modified.  Doug Moffatt had taken him under his wing and the two of them were becoming quite good friends.  By then Scotty had met most of the members of the club, and had been able to help a number of them as he had done initially with Paul.  He observed that the majority of the members were in their twenties and thirties, and although they shared a love of cars, most of them required help when it came to the more complicated mechanical issues.

     Doug Moffatt wasn’t sure what it was about Scotty Ferguson that was so compelling, but from the moment he met him he felt there was something special about the guy.  It wasn’t his cool looks, or the Studebaker Hawk that suited him to a tee.  Nor was it his fast driving ability or knowledge of cars.  But there was an aura about the kid that suggested he was destined for bigger things.  Sure, he was a high-school dropout.  But, not because he wasn’t smart enough.  Scotty had said, “They just weren’t teaching anything I wanted to learn.”  Meantime, he had read everything ever written on auto mechanics and could probably ace the apprenticeship exam after just months in the program.  He was a young man with smoldering ambition, but was constrained by circumstances. 

     Scotty was blown-away when Doug Moffatt asked him if he would like to join Bayview Modified.  At first he couldn’t believe it!  Then he saw the serious look on Doug’s face.  Scotty stammered, “You got to be kidding.   I could never raise the two hundred dollar initiation fee.”  Doug said, “Don’t worry, I’ve got that covered.  As President I am proposing you for membership, and Neil will second your application.  Then I will recommend that the club waive the customary initiation fee and that you will contribute ‘in kind’ by becoming the club’s mechanic at large.”  Doug went on to say that he had discussed this with the other board members and received unanimous approval.  He added, “Scotty, you’ve made a very positive impression with everyone over the past few months, and we all feel you would be an asset to the club.”  He stuck out his hand and said, “Congratulations my friend.” 


     Scotty was shooting pool when a friend rushed up to the table and said that some guys were out back messing around with his car.  He immediately tossed the cue on the table and headed for the door.  When he rounded the corner of the building, he found three guys leaning against the Hawk.  It was almost dark, but he could see that all the tires on his car were flat.  As he approached, the three guys pushed away from the car and stood ready to face him.  Scotty could see that they all wore the blue and gold jackets of the high school football team.  The apparent leader of the group was the guy he had confronted a year earlier in front of the café. The beefy footballer said, “How ya doing, tough guy?  Looks like you got a few flat tires.”  As they began to circle Scotty, a small crowd from the pool room began to assemble.

     Scotty reached inside his pocket and slipped his fingers into a pair of brass knuckles.  When the big guy swung at him, Scotty blocked the punch and threw at hard right-cross which landed in the middle of his attackers face.  He could feel the crunch as the guy’s nose was crushed, then as he staggered backwards Scotty followed with a hard kick to the guy’s groin with his boot.  The footballer collapsed and vomited on the pavement.  His friends stood there stunned by the speed in which this had happened.  As Scotty turned to the others, one of them stepped back raising his hands saying, “Whoa, man.”  Scotty stood there and watched as they helped their injured friend to his feet and withdrew to where the Ford XL was parked.  The blood spattered footballer was only semi-conscious and clearly unable to drive.  One of them fished the key from his pocket and they peeled off.

     Scotty looked at the Hawk with dismay.  He could see that his double-wide white wall tires had all been slashed and were destroyed beyond redemption.  Swallowing his anger, he went back into the pool room and borrowed the phone from Fat Eddy.  He called Matt Connolly at the BA Station, and after explaining what had happened, asked him to throw the hydraulic floor jack and four retreads into the service truck and come to help him.  Less than an hour later the tires had been replaced, and Scotty was preparing to follow Matt back up to the station.  Just then a police cruiser pulled up with lights flashing.  As two officers got out of the car, Scotty passed the brass knuckles to Matt and asked him to hold on to them.  One of the officers informed Scotty that he was being charged with aggravated assault and was under arrest.  Scotty was stunned as he was handcuffed and guided into the back seat of the cruiser.

     When they booked him at the police station, the desk sergeant asked him if he had any weapons.  Scotty said no, but they frisked him anyway and took away his belt and boot laces.  One of the cops said there was a report about some brass knuckles.  Scotty just shrugged.  The sergeant led him down a hallway to an area where there was a row of cells.  A few of the other occupants were still hooting and hollering as the door to Scotty’s cell clanged shut.  Scotty was informed that he was entitled to a phone call, but he didn’t know who to call.  The sergeant said he would be released in the morning, if he could post one hundred dollars bail.  Scotty thought, good luck with that!  He was issued with a scratchy blanket and a thin pillow and now faced a long night of introspection.

     At 8 a.m. he was handed a coffee and a fried egg sandwich through the bars.  Epiphany was not a word common to Scotty’s vocabulary, but sometime during the night he had resolved that he would never let something like this ever happen again.  A little while later, someone turned the key to his cell door and told him he was being released.  When he was led to the front desk, he found Doug Moffatt waiting there.  Doug had posted bail, and after Scotty retrieved his personal effects, they got into the Chevy and drove uptown.  Doug said that the footballer was still in hospital with a badly broken nose and a fractured cheek.  His father apparently was planning to hire a lawyer and wanted the book thrown at Scotty.  The problem was there were a lot of witnesses, and they all supported Scotty’s side of the argument. 

     One week later Scotty stood in front of the Magistrate to defend against the charges.  The bandaged victim testified that he had been attacked without provocation.   His two friends backed up his story and claimed that it was a vicious assault by Scotty who employed a prohibited weapon.  The Magistrate asked the arresting officer if there was evidence of such a weapon.  There wasn’t.  He then asked the plaintiff’s friends what they were doing behind the pool hall.  Their answers were nonsensical.  Doug Moffatt stood up and said that he represented the accused.  He asked if he could introduce two people who had witnessed the plaintiff and his friends slash the tires of Scotty Ferguson’s Studebaker Hawk.  There were also witnesses who saw the plaintiff throw the first punch.  And there were numerous character witnesses.  In the end, the charges were dismissed.  A feature writer from the local newspaper took note.  She thought there might be a good story here.


     Scotty could barely control the car as he slammed the shift into second gear.  The tires screamed as the rear end started to drift, but somehow he managed to stay in his lane.  Seconds later, he shifted into third gear and burned more rubber.  When they crossed the finish line, the man beside him punched a stopwatch which recorded 11.8 seconds.  It was the fastest quarter mile that Scotty had ever experienced and the exhilaration was unbelievable!  He slowed down, downshifted and did a 3-point turn.  It wasn’t the Studebaker Hawk that Scotty was driving.  It was Doug Moffatt’s ’57 Chevy, otherwise known as ‘the fastest set of wheels in town.’  They were doing test runs in advance of the regional races scheduled in two weeks.  Doug’s bosses at the steel company had strongly advised him not to race cars, at the risk of invalidating his benefit’s package and possibly compromising his career.

     Doug was on the promotional fast track and the company didn’t want him risking life and limb at the racetrack.  So he had reluctantly recruited Scotty to step-in to do the actual driving, while he at least had the satisfaction of seeing his car compete against other challengers.  Scotty was the youngest member of Bayview Modified, but Doug had watched him perform in the intra-club drag races and he felt that Scotty was the most proficient driver in the club.  Over the past six months Scotty had proven himself to be invaluable.  He was now the go-to guy for anyone needing help with a mechanical issue.  Doug didn’t know when Scotty slept. Between his job at the BA station and the hours he spent helping out at the club, he had very little spare time.  

     A few weeks earlier, Doug had been contacted by a prominent feature-writer from the local newspaper.  She was interested in doing a human interest article about Bayview Modified, and had arranged a time to come by to see the car club facilities.  At the appointed time, Doug showed her around and introduced her to several of the members.  She took notes as Doug explained the short history of the club and talked about their raison d’etre.  She was fascinated by the sexy motto, ‘The Need for Speed.’  Later, when she was introduced to Scotty she thought, now here’s the hook for the story.  As the newest and youngest member of the club, Scotty provided the human interest element that she was looking for.  Not to mention his engaging good looks.  She had the staff reporter snap a picture of Scotty standing beside his black Studebaker Hawk.  And she scribbled furiously as Doug sang Scotty’s praises and explained his important role in the club.  

     The widely read article was interesting and comprehensive. It cemented Bayview Modified’s reputation as the pre-eminent car club in the region.  Its portrayal of Scotty as a mechanical prodigy and skilled fast-car-driver had created an image that verged on hero worship.  As a result there were an avalanche of new applications for membership. Scotty was now recognized everywhere he went, especially since he wore the club’s distinctive monogrammed jacket.  He had unwittingly become the club’s goodwill ambassador.  A prominent retail chain even approached him to do some modeling to promote their products.  One of the biggest impacts though was felt by Hanson’s BA.  The station had already benefited from club members who were now gassing up there.  Now, there was a huge increase in the demand for service and mechanical work, and everyone wanted to speak to Scotty.

     Scotty’s relationship with Doug had developed into a strong bond, with his friend and mentor becoming almost like a father figure.  His own father had died during the war, and he was estranged from his stepfather who was of recent vintage and just one of several transient relationships his mother had adopted during his childhood.  Even Barbara Anne’s father had rejected him.  Scotty had deep discussions with his new friend about his insecurities and defensive attitude, especially after his recent brush with the law.  Doug counseled him to try being more understanding of other people’s point of view, and not be so reactive in his responses.  He also encouraged him to develop a clear image in his mind of what a bright future could look like, and to reinforce that image constantly with his thoughts and actions.  With this in mind, Scotty decided it was time to deal with some thorny issues.

     Derek Hanson was receptive when Scotty approached him for a raise in his hourly rate.  There had been a big increase in business over the past six months, most of it directly attributable to Scotty’s new persona and connection to Bayview Modified.  And, although Derek was a certified auto mechanic himself, he knew that his diagnostic and practical application skills paled in comparison to that of his young employee.  The average hourly rate for a mechanic was currently $2.79 per hour.  When Scotty hinted that he might be looking elsewhere, Hanson quickly agreed to increase his hourly rate to $2.00.  It was only fair as Scotty was now personally in demand by customers and he looked after much of the increased work volume.   Truth be told, he was just happy to keep the young man on the payroll.


     Barbara Anne was now enrolled at teacher’s college in a nearby city.  She was still living at home and had made car-pooling arrangements with some of the other students.  With her twentieth birthday coming up, Barbara Anne was still under her father’s watchful eye.  There had been no change in his opinion of Scotty nor in his stubborn refusal to let them date.  Still, she had been seeing Scotty secretly for more than a year, and their relationship had become quite serious.  When he suggested that they meet with her parents to try and sort things out, she was reluctant.  But, Scotty felt that it was something they had to do as the current situation couldn’t continue as it was.  As soon as they entered her parent’s house, the sparks began to fly.  

     Mr. Acheson was incensed that Scotty would have the nerve to come to his home uninvited.  He immediately lashed out at Barbara Anne and angrily told her to go to her room.  His wife tried to intervene, but Acheson told her to stay out of it.  He looked at Scotty and snarled, “Get the hell out of my house!” Scotty, remembering Doug Moffatt’s advice, replied calmly, “I’ll leave if you want me to man, but can’t we please talk things over?” Acheson responded, “Get out of here you Goddamn gas jockey, and don’t come back.”  Scotty lunged at the nasty prick and raised his fist, but Barbara Anne grabbed Scotty’s hand and screamed, “No, let’s just go.”  Her father said belligerently, “You’re not going anywhere!”  Barbara Anne tearfully replied, “I’m leaving with Scotty and I won’t be coming back.” An enraged Acheson followed them out the door and was shaking his fist as they drove off. 

     Scotty’s effort to reach out to his mother met with a similar rejection.  He had gone over to her house one night and rang the bell.  When the door opened, Robert, her new husband stood there with a grim look on his face.  His mother approached from behind, and he was shocked to see that she was heavily pregnant.  He smiled and said he was hoping they could all sit down together and talk.  But, that wasn’t happening.  Robert muttered, “That ship has sailed.”  His mother just frowned and remained silent.  Neither of them invited him in.  As Scotty drove away he tried to understand where they were coming from.  He guessed they wanted to start their new life together without any baggage.    Maybe they thought he was an irredeemable trouble maker.  It was fucked-up, but what could he do?

     Scotty had arranged a room for Barbara Anne at the guest house, and the following week she dropped out of teacher’s college and got a job at one of the local banks.  With his improved cash flow he was able to temporarily cover the cost of her room and board and purchase some other basic necessities.   She had slipped back home when her father was at work and packed up her clothing and some personal effects.  They were together constantly now and there was no more sneaking around. 

      He was thinking of this as he merged onto the highway and floored the accelerator.  Then something caused him to look in the rear view mirror.  He thought, oh shit, when he saw a fast approaching police car with flashing lights and siren blaring.   Scotty pulled over and waited for the officer to approach the driver’s side window.  The officer leaned in and asked him if he was in a bit of hurry today.  Scotty said, “I was doing under the speed limit.”  The cop said, “Yes, but you went from zero to 60 in about eight seconds.

     The officer noted that Scotty was wearing a Bayview Modified jacket.  He said, “Say, aren’t you the guy who won the drag races at Flamboro Speedway last weekend?”  Scotty nodded and said, “That would be me.”  The officer said, “I saw your picture in the newspaper and read about your car club, Bayview Modified.  How do you join a club like that anyway?”  Scotty said, “It depends on what kind of car you drive.”  The young officer proudly stated, “I have a 1958 Corvette.”  Scotty said, “So you should talk to Doug Moffatt who is president of our club.  Here’s a card with his phone number.” The cop examined the card and then said, “OK, I’m going to let you off this time, but try to slow it down a bit on these access ramps.  Maybe I’ll see you around.”


     After Scotty won the drag-races at Flamboro, his picture appeared once again in the local newspaper.  A few days later a representative from a men’s clothing chain approached him about doing some advertising.  They were prepared to cut him a cheque for the use of his image in a billboard campaign.  The ad would picture him leaning against the Hawk, wearing items from their spring clothing line.  The amount of money offered would allow him to fully repay his car loan, with a bit to spare.  He checked with Doug Moffatt to be sure the club was okay with the idea, then he called and agreed on a time for the photo shoot.  A few weeks later, when the first billboard appeared downtown, Scotty thought, now that’s really cool.

     Scotty and Doug had been talking more about ‘the vision thing.’  Both of them had an obsessive interest in cars, and they struck upon the idea of opening an Auto Specialty business which would specialize in classic and high performance cars.  In less than two years Scotty would have his mechanic’s certification, and in the meantime they could create a business plan and line up their financials. Barbara Anne had a plan as well, hoping to return to teacher’s college as soon as she could save enough money.  Scotty pointed out that two could live together as cheaply as one.  They rented an apartment in a downtown high rise, and moved in together.

~                      ~                      ~

     Scotty lined up a shot and sunk the last stripe on the table.  He had applied just enough backspin to position his cue ball perfectly for a shot on the black.  As he lined up the final shot, a cop in a blue uniform approached the table.  Distracted, Scotty choked and miscued.  After the game, he went outside with the officer, who guided him to a car where Corporal Philips was waiting.  Philips said, “Scotty, I was hoping that you might do me a favour.  I was wondering if you would agree to give a talk to some teenaged boys who are currently confined in the juvenile detention centre.”  Scotty asked, “What the hell would I say to them?” Philips said, “Talk to them about how to straighten themselves out.  Tell them your story.”  As Scotty drove home in the Hawk, he thought it over.   Hmm.  Maybe he could talk to them about ‘the vision thing.”  It seemed to be working for him!  He smiled and turned up the volume as the Beach Boys sang their new song.    

By Michael Barlett

Little Deuce Coupe

 Song by the Beach Boys

Well I’m not bragging, babe so don’t put me down

But I’ve got the fastest set of wheels in town

When someone comes up to me, he don’t even try

Cause if I had a set of wings, man I know she could fly

She’s my little deuce coupe

You don’t know what I got

Just a little deuce coupe with a flathead mill

But she’ll walk a Thunderbird like she’s standing still

She’s ported and relieved, and she’s stroked and bored

She’ll do a hundred and forty in the top end floored

She’s my little deuce coupe

You don’t know what I got

She’s got a competition clutch with the four on the floor

And she purrs like a kitten ‘till the lake pipes roar

And if that ain’t enough to make you flip your lid

There’s one more thing, I got the pink slip, daddy

And coming off the line when the light turns green

Well, it blows them out of the water like you’ve never seen

I get pushed out of shape, and it’s hard to steer

When I get rubber in all four gears

She’s my little deuce coupe

You don’t know what I got


Donate a little?

Use PayPal to support our efforts:


Genre Poll

Your Favorite Genre?

Sign Up for info from Short-Story.Me!

Stories Tips And Advice